Sport

O'Neill not getting carried away after famous Irish win

Martin O'Neill celebrates with Roy Keane after the final whistle
Martin O'Neill celebrates with Roy Keane after the final whistle

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill refused to get carried away after his side claimed a famous win in Austria on Saturday evening.

James McClean's second-half strike gave Ireland a 1-0 success and their biggest away win in a qualifier since 1987 when another 1-0 win in Scotland helped Jack Charlton's men reach Euro 88.

O'Neill knows Ireland have only played four matches so far in this campaign, however, and he played down the importance of the result.

“It was a tough evening for us, particularly in the first half,” O'Neill said.

“Austria started strongly, which we knew that they would do with the pressure on them to get a home win.

“We stemmed the flow of it at half-time and I thought we were very strong in the second half.

“I felt that we were starting to turn the tide, that the game was within our grasp and McClean comes up big with a great goal and naturally I’m delighted for him.

“I’m delighted that we’ve won and I’m not saying it’s significant by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a million miles to go but it’s nice to win that game tonight.”

“Naturally Austria will be disappointed because they’ve dropped home points again but I wouldn’t discount anyone just at this minute.”

Ireland will have to do without key man Robbie Brady in their next qualifier, at home to Wales, after the Norwich man picked up a soft booking for kicking the ball away but O'Neill believes Ireland have the strength in depth to cope with the suspension.

“It’s a second yellow, I don’t think Robbie was even aware beforehand. It was a soft one, considering he knocked the ball back.

“We have played the competition without Robbie at one particular time. We played without Jeff [Hendrick] in Moldova.

“We played without players every single time so hopefully along the way somebody steps up to the mark.”